Reaching out toward collective wisdom (questions about long term implications of better buildings)
Hello all. Full disclosure first: I am working on a research paper and am interested in building efficiency. I understand quite a bit of the science involved (and am in the process of planning a Pretty Good House hoping to break ground next year). But I haven’t been around the block or in the industry enough to “know what I don’t know”, so to speak.
With that said, I am broadly focusing on comparing the two methods of addressing greenhouse emissions. Namely, (1) the efforts to switch to zero-carbon energy production and (2) use energy more efficiently.
My suspicion is that (2) is undervalued in the marketplace, especially in residential housing. I am interested in some guidance or thoughts from players in the industry on this subject. Whether that be links to discussion about this (I’m sure there are many), or papers addressing it or perhaps things I am missing. My hypothesis is that the long term gains from an energy efficient house are under priced because of the up-front costs and relatively low stakes for most people involved (including many homeowners)
In designing my own house, I became much more intimately aware of how poor a code minimum build is, as well as how much this code affects. Energy efficiency seems to be a “add on” for custom builds, and is certainly at the bottom of the list for most rental properties and public housing.
Which leads to my main topic: why is code minimum so bad in most places? It seems that if we are building 50-100 year structures, we should put a relatable amount of foresight into building them. Especially when builders don’t really have much reason to care if renter’s are uncomfortable with high energy bills. I know this is a bit of preaching to the choir on this forum, but perhaps there is more nuance (code has to work for all zones, etc.).
I hope this doesn’t come across as asking for handouts! I am genuinely interested in the discussion and want to hear how others have spent time thinking about this. Thanks!
GBA Detail Library
A collection of one thousand construction details organized by climate and house part